CINCINNATI (FOX19) - After more than a year of negotiations and planning, the new $10 million Stargel Stadium opened for the first time on Friday night.
“It’s been a long time in the making. We promised the community a wonderful, state of the art stadium. Here it is,” Cincinnati Public Schools Board President Carolyn Jones said.
The first game in the stadium was between Withrow High School Tigers and Taft High School Senators.
Taft won 29-26.
A ribbon-cutting ceremony was held at halftime where members of the Stargel family joined CPS staff on the field.
“I had my doubts that it was going to come, so I’m happy that it came to fruition,” Meredith Stargel said. “I think the West End Senators are going to be strong going to stay strong and just move ahead from here. We can only get better.”
The project was met with opposition from the start as FC Cincinnati tried to acquire the old Stargel Stadium location to build their new MLS stadium.
After negotiating back and forth with CPS, FC Cincinnati was able to strike a deal that helped fund the construction of the new stadium.
The old stadium was demolished last year.
“We accept that not everybody was supportive of this but I think the reality of this is that it’s here, it’s ours. We want the students to enjoy this. So, we’re here tonight and we’re moving forward," Jones said.
T-shirts, towels, and food were given away on opening night at the Ezzard Charles Drive stadium.
A plaque commemorating the groundbreaking of the new stadium and a jersey with all of the CPS logos were part of the ceremonies.
Stargel Stadium is the home field for six football teams: Aiken, Hughes, Riverview, Shroder, Gamble and Taft high schools.